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Updated: 3 hours 28 min ago

Healthy Breakfast, Healthy Future

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 4:32pm
Cross posted from the Huffington Post: Last Friday, I celebrated School Breakfast Week with a lively group of students at William H. Hunter Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I was joined by the Philadelphia Superintendent of Schools and various state officials as I participated in an event which emphasized the important role of the USDA [...]

Secretary’s Column: New Farm Bill and 2015 Budget Expand Opportunity in Rural America

Fri, 03/07/2014 - 2:49pm
This week, President Obama released USDA’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal, which supports our ongoing work to create jobs and opportunity in rural America. The budget builds on the new opportunities available to us through the recently-passed 2014 Farm Bill to achieve reform and results for the American taxpayer; foster opportunity for the men and [...]

Child Hunger and the Importance of Keeping Our Communities Healthy and Strong

Fri, 03/07/2014 - 2:49pm
During March, National Nutrition Month®, USDA will highlight various nutrition topics that are near and dear to our hearts. We don’t work on these issues alone however. This guest blog post acknowledges one USDA National Strategic Partner, Feeding America, for the outstanding work they do to address childhood hunger and food insecurity and promote MyPlate. [...]

International School Meals Day 2014: Celebrating the Importance of Nutrition, Health and Learning Worldwide

Thu, 03/06/2014 - 8:43pm
Visiting schools around the country to discuss the importance of health and nutrition with students and educators is one of the favorite parts of my job.  Today, I had the opportunity to share these nutrition messages globally!  On this day, USDA recognized the second annual International School Meals Day (ISMD), where schools around the world [...]

Opportunities for Local Foods Expanding In Iowa

Thu, 03/06/2014 - 2:40pm
All across the country local and regional food systems provide a wealth of opportunities for rural residents.  They provide opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and producers to meet growing customer demand for local foods. Local food entrepreneurs are starting to start small businesses like food processing, distribution and retail markets. Local and regional food systems are [...]

USDA Publications Shine on Government Bookstore Bestseller List

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 8:19pm
The U.S. Government Bookstore, the place where you can buy the 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar for $20 or a loose-leaf copy of the Export Administration Regulation 2013 edition for $199, released its list of best-selling publications for 2013 that includes several items published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Why Would Anyone Cut A Tree Down?” [...]

School Breakfast Week, International School Meals Day Kick off National Nutrition Month

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 8:19pm
To kickoff National Nutrition Month, USDA is again celebrating National School Breakfast Week (March 3 – 7) to support the health and well-being of our nation’s children.  National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to highlight the essential role nutrition plays in sustaining healthier lives.  A well-balanced breakfast serves as an important first step to [...]

USDA Celebrates National Nutrition Month and Highlights Efforts to Promote a #HealthierNextGen

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 2:06pm
Today, as we mark the beginning of National Nutrition Month and the start of National School Breakfast Week, and throughout this month, USDA will be highlighting the work of our programs and partner organizations that support a healthier next generation by improving childhood nutrition and reducing obesity, supporting healthy families, enhancing food access, ensuring food [...]

Enhanced School Wellness Environments Make the Smart Choice the Easy Choice for a Healthier Next Generation

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 7:32pm
Given that many children today eat two meals a day at school, it’s vital that we make every effort to ensure that they have access to the healthy foods they need and the knowledge to make healthy choices. The proposed school wellness policy guidelines and the expansion of community eligibility announced by First Lady Michelle [...]

Secretary’s Column: Another Step Forward Towards a Healthier Next Generation

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 1:29pm
This week at USDA, we took several steps forward in the fight for a healthier future for our nation’s children. On Tuesday, we rolled out new proposed guidelines that will make sure only healthy foods and beverages are allowed to be marketed to kids at school. The new guidelines will ensure that schools remain a [...]

USDA Then and Now: Part IV

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 7:19pm
Thanks for tuning in this month to our installments of USDA Then and Now photo series on the amazing innovations that have helped rural America grow and respond to a constantly evolving agricultural landscape. Here you can see Part I, Part II, and Part III. In our fourth and final Then and Now, we look to [...]

Organic 101: Ensuring Organic Integrity through Inspections

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 1:01pm
This is the fifteenth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations. USDA certified organic products are produced and sold around the world, many originating from over 17,700 organic operations right here in the United States. The USDA organic label assures consumers that products have been produced through approved [...]

MyPlate Celebrates the 4th Anniversary of Let’s Move

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 6:32pm
Four years ago, the First Lady launched Let’s Move!, to help Americans create a healthier future.  To celebrate, First Lady Michelle Obama is asking individuals, families and communities to Show Us How You Move! Use the hashtag #LetsMove to share the steps you’re taking to live healthier. From climbing the stairs instead of the elevator [...]

Secretary’s Column: Census of Agriculture Results Tell Story of Unlimited Potential in Rural America

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 12:11pm
This week, USDA released preliminary data from the 2012 Census of Agriculture that provides a snapshot of a rural America that remains stable in the face of difficult economic times. While the data do not paint a perfect picture, they do tell a story of the unlimited potential and growing opportunity in modern rural America. [...]

Ag Outlook Forum to Offer Sessions on Food Prices and Farm Income

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 5:54pm
Here’s what the Economic Research Service (ERS) has in store for the Agricultural Outlook Forum. We have arranged two afternoon sessions on Thursday, February 20.  One will discuss farm income and the other the outlook for food prices. The food price session, moderated by Michael McConnell of Informa Economics, will provide a perspective on food [...]

It All Starts with a Seed

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 5:49pm
Believe it or not, food doesn’t come from the refrigerator or even the kitchen.  It doesn’t even come from the grocery store or the farmer.  All food—whether meat, grain, vegetable or fruit—owes its existence to seeds.  Seeds are the backbone of human existence, providing us with the fundamental necessities needed for life: food, clothing, medicine, [...]

Secretary’s Column: New Farm Bill is an Investment in Rural America

Fri, 02/14/2014 - 5:32pm
The 2014 Farm Bill, passed by Congress and signed last week by President Obama, strengthens the farm safety net and ensures vital nutrition assistance for hardworking children and families during tough times. It closes loopholes and achieves much-needed reform, saving billions of taxpayer dollars. Those accomplishments are significant and should be commended, particularly at a [...]

USDA Innovation Improves Rice Grading

Wed, 02/12/2014 - 4:13pm
With a little help from USDA, consumer-grade photo scanners could revolutionize rice grading. Consumers much prefer whole kernels of milled rice over broken pieces.  Whole kernels offer more consistent cooking qualities and are in many cases considered more visually appealing.  As a result, the price paid to a rice producer for a load of rough [...]

Happy Valentine’s Day from MyPlate!

Wed, 02/12/2014 - 10:11am
This Valentine’s Day, give something for the heart. Sharing a heart healthy gift is a great way to let the people in your life know you care.  Instead of offering an over-sized piece of cake or a box of sweets, give something that takes care of the heart. For Your Spouse or Partner:  Make a [...]

Strengthening the Modern Farm Safety Net for Specialty Crop Growers

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 3:59pm
As consumer demand for fresh fruit and vegetables increases, so do the production risks for the nation’s farmers as they grow these crops.  To meet this challenge, the Risk Management Agency (RMA) pays close attention to the changing agriculture sector to ensure that crop insurance is made available where feasible. A tremendous amount of work [...]